MTA To Gain Money From Budget Amendments

On the 21st of January, I wrote an entry about how the executive budget for fiscal year 2010-2011 unveiled by Gov. Paterson would short change the MTA $104 million. Fast forward to earlier today when the 21-day amendments to the 2010-11 Executive Budget were released which featured a net gain of $230M for the beleaguered transit agency. Lets first take a look at the press release about these amendments courtesy of Gov. Paterson’s website:

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he will put forward proposed improvements to the MTA mobility tax in his 21-day amendments to the 2010-11 Executive Budget that will help preserve that transit system as the economic lifeblood of the metropolitan region. This revised proposal would ensure that the MTA will receive previously projected mobility tax revenues in 2010 and in future years in order to help mitigate the impact of the authority’s budget difficulties on straphangers; improve regional equity by introducing a two-tiered tax rate that brings tax collections more in line with local ridership; and deliver substantial additional tax relief for small businesses during the current economic downturn.

“The new proposal I am putting forward will provide relief to straphangers, as the MTA makes the difficult decisions necessary to balance its budget during an historic fiscal crisis that is significantly impacting all levels of government,” Governor Paterson said. “In addition, it also makes key improvements to the current tax structure, promoting regional equity and delivering relief to small businesses.”

The new structure will restore 2010 MTA mobility tax revenues to $1.54 billion, which is equal to original projections (net additional revenue of approximately $230 million for MTA). It also addresses projected out-year deterioration, providing more than $200 million in additional annual revenue on an ongoing basis in 2011 and beyond.

Click here for the complete press release.

Now here is a statement the MTA sent out via e-mail in response to these amendments:

“The MTA is grateful to Governor Paterson for his continued focus on funding the MTA and the critical service we provide to 8.5 million New Yorkers every day. The MTA’s revenues have taken two significant hits since December: a nearly $400 million deficit was closed in December with administrative reductions and service cuts; and just last week we learned of a new approximately $400 million shortfall due primarily to reduced State projections of the payroll mobility tax.

Based on the estimates provided by the Governor’s office, the changes to the payroll mobility tax proposed today would provide $230 million to recover much of the latest $400 million in deterioration and could lessen the need for additional cuts on top of those passed in December. It would not eliminate the need for the service cuts and administrative reductions included in the MTA Budget passed in December.

The proposal also changes the structure of the payroll mobility tax, which is a decision to be made by the Governor and the Legislature. Even if this restructuring is enacted, the MTA will remain focused on overhauling how it does business to reduce costs and operate within the funding provided.”

Am I the only one who is not excited about this? Don’t get me wrong, any sort of positive financial news for the MTA is good but I have to call these amendments for what they are. They are nothing but a game being played by Gov. Paterson has he faces a horrific approval rating across the entire state. I & anyone else who follows politics can see this move coming a mile away.

Well I am sorry Governor Paterson, I will not cheer you for your amendments. Instead I will say that you need to stop playing the typical political games & along with elected officials from the city to state level, find legitimate ways to provide funding for the MTA.

When political leaders such as yourself do what is good for the transit agency, its riders, & the entire region for the right reasons & not just for style points, I will then cheer you on. Until then, I don’t think so……

xoxo Transit Blogger

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